Unique within Canada, the role of notaries is Quebec is stipulated in Quebec’s civil law model. A notary is a legal profession specifically authorized to confer authenticity to acts and contracts which he/she has drawn up in due form of law, and to advise persons who seek his/her professional advice.
Services and Functions of a Notary Include:
- Authorizing and signing drafts of legal documents, such as prenuptial agreements, birth certificates, court orders, real estate transactions, government papers and other certified contracts and documents for private parties.
- Maintaining a permanent record of transactions.
- Giving advice about and explaining the details of government and contractual documents to the client.
How is a Notary Different from a Lawyer?
- A notary is a public officer, which means he/she acts independently as a judge on legal matters concerning all forms of documentation. He/she does not represent a firm or a law group, but rather acts as an authority of the Quebec law.
- A notary’s services are often preventative. Clients have official documents signed by a notary in case they are ever brought into question in the future.
- A notary is impartial and does not serve any one client’s best interest. He/she simply applies the law, and informs clientele about the laws and regulations of their documents.
- Notaries deal with all legal documents and contracts in the written form, whereas lawyers deal with personal and relationship conflicts.
- Although notaries have law degrees and have taken similar exams to lawyers, they have not necessarily taken the bar exam.
- Notaries do not go to court.
Notaries Outside of Quebec
- Although “Notary Publics” do exist in the other provinces, their role is much less involved in the counselling of contractual agreements.
- Notary Publics provide the same document authorization services but the law is less strict about a notary’s signature, and in many cases, lawyers can provide the same services.
- Chambre des notaires du Québec
- In other provinces: notaries can be found at the various “Notary Public & Commissioner of Oaths Services” offices scattered across the country or on YellowPages.ca.